S.K. Ko managed Motorola's Penang, Malaysia factory, producing telecommunications components and equipment. As a female manager of a multi-ethnic and labor-intensive plant in Asia, Ko faced a number of challenges. She had already promoted quality circles and quality competitions to meet Motorola's raised standards. Extensive training gave workers the skills to solve problems and to troubleshoot equipment. But Ko was skeptical of empowerment efforts at other Motorola sites that aimed for much greater worker participation in decision making. She thought empowerment inappropriate to the Asian context. She also thought that many operators would have trouble upgrading their skills as the world became more information intensive. Other Southeast Asian nations with lower labor costs were a competitive threat to Penang's labor-intensive processes. She envisioned Penang transformed by the year 2000 into a fully automated manufacturing operation and a design center for all of Motorola's Asian operations.
Today's "managerial" capitalism has grown hopelessly out of touch with the people it should be serving. The Support Economy explores the chasm between people and corporations and reveals a new society of individuals who seek relationships of advocacy and trust that provide support for their complex lives. Unlocking the wealth of these new markets can unleash the next great wave of wealth creation, but it requires a radically new approach--"distributed" capitalism. The Support Economy is a call to action for every citizen who cares about the future. .
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